Wales v New Zealand: Jess Fishlock to miss June friendly

Wales celebrate
Wales last faced New Zealand on 4 June 2019, with Kayleigh Green scoring a 90th minute winner in a 1-0 victory at Leckwith Stadium
International friendly: Wales v New Zealand
Venue: Pinatar Arena, Murcia Date: Tuesday, 28 June Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Watch & listen live on iPlayer, BBC Sport online, Cymru Fyw and BBC Radio Wales medium wave

Wales’ most-capped player Jess Fishlock will miss the friendly against New Zealand later this month as she is given an opportunity to rest.

The OL Reign midfielder will not travel with the NWSL season ongoing.

Orlando Pride midfielder Angharad James is included and could win her 98th cap.

Under-19 goalkeeper Safia Middleton-Patel receives a first senior call-up as part of a 25-player squad for the Tuesday, 28 June match in Pinatar, Spain.

The friendly against New Zealand is Wales’ final game before their remaining World Cup qualifiers in September, with Wales travelling to Greece on Friday, 2 September before hosting Slovenia on Tuesday, 6 September at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Gemma Grainger’s side are second in their World Cup qualifying group as they bid to reach the play-offs and a first major tournament.

“This was a sensible decision Jess [Fishlock] and I came to together,” Grainger told BBC Sport Wales.

“We want Jess to be able to perform from September onwards.

“Jess has played a heavy schedule with OL Reign and has a heavy schedule coming in July.

“Angharad James to date has been less involved with her club [Orlando Pride] which is why she will travel.”

Captain Sophie Ingle and recent cap-centurions Helen Ward and Natasha Harding are included in the squad to face New Zealand.

Harding, who announced her decision to leave Reading, is one of six players in the Wales squad who has ended the season unattached.

Anna Filbey and Josie Green who have departed Tottenham, goalkeeper Poppy Soper, midfielder Megan Wynne and attacker Elise Hughes are also currently without clubs.

Grainger says she has no concern about any of her out of contract players’ futures.

“What the girls are doing is making decisions that are best for them as players,” she said.

“They have got a lot of options… which is great.

“We want them to play. Whether that’s in the Women’s Super League or the Championship.”

Wales are meeting for a training camp in Cardiff before the trip to Spain, with several players set to train with the senior squad for the first time, including Arsenal’s Bethan McGowan and Cardiff’s Phoebie Poole.

Leicester midfielder Hannah Cain will also be part of the training camp as she continues her rehabilitation following knee surgery.

“We want to utilise our time most effectively, last June we played Scotland this time New Zealand,” Grainger added.

“We think 10 days is a lot for one game, so this time we are flipping it a bit with a two-day developmental training camp.

“It’s a first for us and we know squad depth is so important. We want to focus on our squad depth.”

Wales squad to face New Zealand: O’Sullivan, Clark, Soper, Middleton-Patel, R Roberts, Green, Ladd, Evans, Rowe, Woodham, Ingle, Filbey, James, Walters, C Jones, Morgan, Wynne, Hughes, Green, Ward, Harding, Holland, Williams, Rogers, Bull

Wales development camp squad: O’Sullivan, Clark, Soper, Middleton-Patel, Rogers, Francis-Jones, B Roberts, Rowe, Powell, Filbey, E Jones, Davies, Bull, Estcourt, C Jones, Williams, Morgan, Wynne, Cain, Hughes, Walters, Griffiths, Thomas, Longhurst, McGowan, Poole.

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